Guatemala and Tikal
I spent Friday in Belize, seeing more ruins, visiting the zoo, and recovering from the nasty sunburn that I picked up snorkeling.
Saturday, I traveled over to Guatemala and stayed in Flores. This is a cute little town, on the lake. I am actually staying on Isla de Flores. It also is just an hour south of Tikal so a great place to jump off from.
Today, I headed up to Tikal. My second visit to Tikal ( I visited about 15 years ago) .
This is still my favorite ruins in the Western Hemisphere. To see these incredible structures, built over 1000 years ago, surrounded by the jungle now, and teaming with wildlife like lemurs, and monkeys...is something I haven't seen elsewhere quite like it.
Getting from Belize to Guatemala was the easiest crossing yet. As always, getting my car legal is the longest, and most expensive, part of the crossing.
Leaving Belize was simple.
Drive to the border. Right before immigration and the checkpoint is a large parking lot. Park here, and head into the building. You will get hustled to change your money into Quetzales now...don't...you still need Belize Dollars.
In the building - first stop is immigration. You visit 2 windows to check out. The exit tax has gone up to $US40 ($BZ80)
Then, oddly, they sent me to the other side, where people enter, to check my car out of Belize. Simple process...nobody wanted to see the car. That is it. Went back to may car, and drove though the checkpoint lane.
The Guatemala side is only about 50 feet past the Belize checkpoint.
First things first...drive into the fumigation bay, and when pulling out, park immediately on the right to pay for the fumigation.
Then, pull your car directly across the street to park. That building on the left will handle your entrance.
First, the "entrada" line for immigration. Very straightforward.
Then, go to the next line to your left for your car. You will need copies of your license, registration, and passport. They asked if I already had copies, which I did not. But, this is easy to solve. Immediately next to this building to your west, there is a little shop (walk around the blue wall) that will make you copies for about 10 quetzales (a little over $US1). They will also need a copy of the page where immigration stamped you in to Guatemala. Odd that they needed that also, and had asked if I already had copies...when would I have done that??
Copies in hand, back into the car line for the 2nd time. They did the paperwork, then sent me to the far right line to pay (Banjercito). This was 160 Quetzales (about $US21). Between the line for the car, and the Banjercito, this is the time to change money. There will be plenty of men standing about to help you with that.
After paying, back to the car line for the 3rd and last time. Do the paperwork, and I am free to enter. With 1 little catch..right after you start driving into Guatemala, there will be a man at a booth at the bridge about 100 meters in asking for 20 Quetzles to enter. Not sure if it is legit,...but it is about $US3, so no sense in arguing. I was ready to explore!!
Total time between Belize exit and Guatemala entry...45 minutes. Most of it for the car.